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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Walking the Bible: A Journey Land Through the Five Books of Moses

1. Feiler traveled to many places as he journeyed through the sites found in the five books of Moses. Which one did you find the most interesting or inspiring? Why?

2. Of the many facts, stories, and history Feiler tells about the Bible and its geography, what did you find the most surprising? In other words, what did you learn about the Bible you didn't know before?

3. In the chapter, "Wall of Water," Feiler writes, "As much as [Avner] knew about the Bible, he seemed to know more about the nature of travel, about how to go to places, leave a bit of yourself behind, take a bit of the place with you, and in the process emerge with something bigger -- and experience, a connection, a story" (page 192). What do you think was Feiler's most significant "experience" or "connection" in his walk through the Bible? Why?

4. Describe Avner's connection to and feelings for Sinai.

5. What is Feiler's purpose in Walking the Bible? Does he accomplish that purpose? How?

6. Describe how the desert figured in Feiler's travels -- what he found there, its influence on the lives of those who live in the desert now and on those who lived in biblical times.

7. Who do you think was the most fascinating person Feiler met in his travels? Why?

8. In "Sunrise in the Palm of God," Feiler writes, "[The] more profound change the journey brought about in me…allowed me to turn off my mind occasionally and open myself up to feelings-spiritual, emotional, divine, even imaginary -- that might innately connect me to the world….after months of traveling around the Middle East, I felt newly aware of the emotional power of certain places, the essential meridians of history that exist just underneath the topsoil…" (page 420). Have you ever traveled to a place that connected you emotionally to place in the way Feiler describes? If so, describe your experience. If not, where do you imagine such a place might be for you?

9. Describe Avner and how Feiler relies on him.

10. Describe some of the contrasts Feiler experiences between the ancient biblical world and the modern world of the Middle.

11. In "Go Forth," Feiler writes, "Some journeys we choose to go on, I realized; some journeys choose us" (page 35). Talk about a time when you felt compelled to begin a journey -- a time when you felt the journey chose you.

12. In "In the Land of Canaan," Feiler writes about meeting Fern Dobuler, an Israeli who was originally from New York. Fern says, "When my kids used to go on field trips in America, they went to a museum, to the Empire State Building. Here when you go on a field trip they drop you off in the middle of the nowhere and you walk, for hours and hours and hours" (page 49). Discuss the difference between how Americans and Middle Easternsers feel about or experience the land.

13. Contrast the differences Feiler experiences in Israel and with his experiences in Egypt.

14. Discuss the similarities and differences between St. Catherine's monastery in the chapter, "On Holy Ground," and Kibbutz Sdeh Borer in the chapter, "The Land of Milk and Honey."

15. How did Feiler's travels change your mind about the Middle East, the people who live there and their history? Or how did Feiler's travels support what you already think about the Middle East?

Walking the Bible: A Journey Land Through the Five Books of Moses
by Bruce Feiler

  • Publication Date: March 1, 2002
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • ISBN-10: 0380807319
  • ISBN-13: 9780380807314